Since then, I’ve been a follower of the company’s social media networks, and I’ve been impressed with the innovative approaches it has taken to promote its jewelry on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Romy Schreiber, the company’s social media and marketing director and daughter of Myriam Gumuchian, answered some questions about her company’s social strategy, what it’s like working for her family, and where the jewelry industry’s online future is headed.
Romy Schreiber and Myriam Gumuchian at JCK Las Vegas 2012
JCK: What was it like growing up in the jewelry industry?
Romy Schreiber: There was never a dull moment growing up in the industry and having a mother like Myriam Gumuchian. It was glamorous, fun, and exciting. My mother exposed me to this industry at a very young age and I was always in awe by all the sparkle. Whether it was at the Couture shows in Arizona, or the jewelry benefits in New York City, everything and everyone sparkled. I grew up completely surrounded by beauty and shine. My favorite thing to do was when we used to walk around trade shows together, hand in hand, and she would point out what was “good” and “bad” design. She taught me what good taste and quality was. Growing up in the jewelry industry completely reflects my style and personality. There was not one design throughout my education at Parsons School of Design that didn’t have an embellishment of some kind. I was sponsored by Swarovski Crystals my senior year and my final collection reflected everything my mother taught me; good taste, quality, and sparkle to the max!
JCK: Tell me a little about the company’s history.
RS: My grandparents Anita and Andre Gumuchian moved to New York City because they saw a huge opportunity to start a fine jewelry company. My grandfather Andre came from a lineage of diamond dealers in which my grandmother sought the opportunity to create fabulous designs with his stones. My mother, Myriam, and Aunt Patricia joined the company and created collections that now range from bridal to classic, fashion, and one-of-a-kind jewelry. Gumuchian has successfully lasted five generations and continues to grow with their company by using traditional methods in handmade jewelry in New York City.
JCK: Are there any specific memories that you have of Gumuchian when you were younger?
RS: I loved coming into the office when I was a kid because my grandmother Anita gave me “the most important job” at Gumuchian. She would sit me down underneath her desk, hand me a ruler, and I would use it to smack the carpeted floor so that all the diamonds she dropped would pop up from the ground. That was one expensive carpet—let me tell you! So there I was, smacking every inch of her office floor with a ruler and would catch every diamond. For every diamond I found she would give me a dollar. So technically, Gumuchian has employed me since the age of 5.
JCK: What did you do before you started working for Gumuchian?
RS: I was in the fashion design department at Parsons and graduated last year in May 2011. I was designing for Victoria’s Secret and freelancing for all kinds of fashion companies. Gumuchian is only my 9-to-5; I still freelance for design companies after I leave the office. I can never say no to anything regarding fashion. Sewing, drawing, and creating clothes are my true passion that I will never give up on.
JCK: What made you get into social media and marketing?
RS: I have always been into Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram—you name it! I love to research and get lost on the Internet. You find out so much within minutes and it’s fascinating. When my mother told me people get paid to Facebook and tweet, I was shocked, to be honest. I had never heard of someone getting paid for social media: marketing, yes, but I assumed everyone knew how to do what I do, just because it’s comes so naturally to my generation. I took over the position in January because I was frustrated by how Gumuchian was represented on the Internet; there was no authenticity and a huge lack of self-expression. I saw an opportunity to revamp our social and online presence which has surprisingly only brought me positive results and a tremendous amount of recognition.
JCK: What are some of the key things you think are important to running a successful social media presence?
RS: It is very important as a brand to know who are marketing to. When I first started working at Gumuchian, my first plan of action was finding out who our fans are and what they want from us. It’s about knowing who you’re talking to and involving them in your conversation. Another key thing is differentiating yourself from the rest. Be unique and true to yourself/brand. Since I am speaking on behalf of a company, I blend the company’s vision with my own so that it’s not only about Gumuchian. People love it when they can be a part of your opinion, so asking questions such as “Would you say ‘I do’ with these rings?” is not only giving people an opportunity to express themselves but more importantly making themselves heard and included. I think having a strong social media presence all comes down to being personal, consistent, and present amongst a variety of social media tools: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are what work for us.
JCK: What do you think are some of the best ways the industry can market and sell jewelry to younger consumers?
RS: Try it on, take a picture, and show us it’s wearable. Throw it on bloggers, give people a chance to show the different ways in which you can wear that specific item. It’s not about Photoshop and celebrities; it’s about real girls having real conversations. What I want to see as a young consumer is jewelry on a hand, neck, ear, or wrist. For instance, when I post a picture of a ring that was Photoshopped on Facebook, I’ll maybe get 70 likes, a couple comments, and 3 shares. As opposed to when I post a real photo of me wearing a ring—taken with my iPhone—I can get up to 900 likes, 582 shares, and hundreds of comments.
JCK: What’s your favorite memory since you started at Gumuchian?
RS: The moment my Aunt Patricia recognized everything I’ve done for them has been the highlight of my time here. You don’t easily get complimented in this family, and when you do it’s like you want to throw yourself a party! The Gumuchians are one tough bunch, let me tell you. You know you did something right when you’ve impressed them.
JCK: Do you think social media—and online in general—will ever truly catch on in the jewelry industry?
RS: If there are more people like you and I, then yes! The jewelry industry doesn’t have a choice; they need to move forward and I have no idea what they’re waiting for. My advice is to hire young professionals to start some kind of social media presence because it’s really easy for us. I believe in progression and I am constantly seeking new ways to improve our company and better present it online.